Canada has the fourth highest turnover rate in the world, according to the statistics.

HR Reporter publication revealed that Canada has an average turnover rate of 16 per cent. That is behind France (21 per cent), UK (17.6 per cent) and Australia (17.5 per cent). The employee turnover rate in the United States ranks fifth at 13 per cent. Globally, the average turnover rate is 12.8 per cent, the publication noted.

Moreover, CBC News reported that three-fourths of those surveyed were either looking for new work or willing to leave their current employee if given an opportunity.

These statistics present a big problem for small and medium-sized businesses, and one that is not going away soon, the Business Development Bank of Canada reports.

“We do not expect labour shortages to get better for at least a decade,” a recent BDC report stated. They noted this was due to an ageing population and high retirement numbers.

These unengaged employees can end up costing companies thousands of dollars to replace when they leave, according to a Canadian replacement cost calculator. That is in addition to poor growth in sales due to a lack of staff.

“We found a direct link between a shortage of workers and slower growth in company sales,” BDC’s report noted. “Our statistical analysis shows that firms that are more affected by shortages are 65 per cent more likely to be low-growth companies.”

Improving employee engagement

As baby boomers begin to leave the workforce, companies are faced with a new style of work influenced by the expectation of Millennials. Many of these younger workers look for different things in an employer, such as social giving or a company that seeks to make things better for the world.

Millennial workers want to know what a company’s story is and how they are working to improve the world. It is no longer about the bottom line.

“[They] want to know what your value proposition is, what your unique advantage is, what industries you’re improving, what industries you’re disrupting. They want to know what your challenges are,” CEO of The Leadership Agency, Jamie Hoobanoff, told The Globe and Mail.

“Start looking at potential employees as potential investors in your organization,” she explained.

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested and their career is invested, they want to contribute,” she added.

Tech as an employee retention tool

Technological advancements are one tool that smaller companies can leverage to appeal to employees without facing skyrocketing staff costs. Here are some ways that businesses can use technology to attract and retain talent:

  1. Automation: employees can now delegate tedious tasks to computers and employers should welcome this change. Not only does it allow workers to better use their talents, but automated systems can also handle a larger volume of work in a fraction of the time.
  2. Flexibility: many millennial workers are looking for companies that offer flexible options such as working from home. Thanks to mobile technology and the cloud, companies don’t need to worry about a lack of productivity. Through platforms like Google, Dropbox and others, a number of employees can be working on the same project and documents from any location.
  3. Efficient software: computer programs and apps have become much more user-friendly than they used to be. This means that companies can use them to help employees be more efficient in their tasks. Consider productivity tools or sharing apps like Google Docs, Asana or Slack.
  4. Virtual training: employees who need some training to become efficient at their new job position should be permitted and even encouraged to take the training in a virtual atmosphere. This means they could undertake the training on their own time in their own space. These e-learning options also allow staff to save them for review at a later time.